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  • Americans Hate Tingle: Although the Darkstalkers series was a genuine hit in its homeland of Japan, with each of its 3 main games making the top 5 of its respective year's arcade income charts, it was never more than a Cult Classic internationally.
  • Awesome Art: The game is extremely stylish, from the varying art style to the top-notch animations and spritework. Capcom really put their guns on it.
  • Awesome Music: Gonna be trouble, Baby I'm a trouble man....
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  • Best Known for the Fanservice: Rather literally. Although this may be because Darkstalkers remains at best a Cult Classic, and of course sex sells, Morrigan and Felicia are the only people anyone seems to remember from the games. It's quite telling that in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the three Darkstalkers include Morrigan, Felicia and Hsien-Ko.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Sasquatch's whole story.
  • "Common Knowledge": It's usually believed that Morrigan sucks people's souls via kissing them to feed herself, and she does in fact drain Pyron in her ending in the first game. While she can drain souls, Morrigan does in fact feed from a special liquid that succubi in Darkstalkers can secret from their bodies when they are excited, and Capcom has even confirmed that Morrigan hasn't killed any humans in her life. However, most people think that Morrigan just drains people for the sake of being a succubus, and every Darkstalkers media as well crossovers don't even mention the liquid, instead having her feed on souls.
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  • Cult Classic: The Darkstalkers series has never seen the mainstream popularity that Mortal Kombat, Tekken, or even its sister series Street Fighter has gotten. But thanks to continued exposure of the characters through the Vs. Capcom series, it has a large, dedicated fanbase who loves its atypical characters and wishes that Capcom would continue the series.
  • Designated Hero: Donovan: He's more than a little of a Knight Templar, and his vampire side takes him over in his ending.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Lilith is very well-liked despite being a villain in the series. Mostly because she has a sympathetic backstory.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Anita. Many players wish to see the older and more cheerful self (as seen in Dee's story from Vampire Savior 2 and planned to be included in the third game) as a playable character in future games. She made, however, the jump to playable in some crossovers, such as Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel vs. Capcom, where she was a selectable Assist Character.
  • Evil Is Cool:
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    • Demitri (with this character, one may also say "Evil is Cool and Sexy"). He is a malevolent vampire who wants to conquer the demon world and sees everyone but himself as inferior, still has his fair share of fans.
    • Jedah, who plays the "evil" part even more than Demitri.
  • Fandom Rivalry: A one-sided variant with Street Fighter, as many Darkstalkers fans are incensed that the former keeps getting more and more promotion and games, while the latter is constantly screwed over and relegated to, if anything, appearances and cameos in crossover games. To put things in perspective, here's what was said at SDCC 2013 when Capcom announced that no new Darkstalkers games were planned...
    Matt Dalgren: Darkstalkers Resurrection did not perform as well as we would have liked to hope. You never know what the future may hold, but Street Fighter is definitely not dead. There is nothing Darkstalkers on the immediate horizon for sure.
  • Fanon: Its commonly claimed that Word of God is a werewolf killed BB. Hood's grandmother and this sparked her hatred of monsters. In actuality this isn't found in any source and all that is stated is BB Hood visits her grandma's house occasionally. One of BB Hood's more powerful moves has her get teary-eyed over a vision of her Grandma before attacking, but the meaning of this move hasn't been explained in any official capacity.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Felicia and Jon Talbain. Almost every media adaptation has paired them up, or at least had them run into each other on a regular basis. Capcom does a suspicious amount of teasing with these two. Although there's nothing to suggest it in-game, in every Darkstalkers property outside of the games to which Capcom has given their stamp of approval, from the US cartoon series and OAV to the UDON comics, Jon and Felicia always share a bond of one variety or another; they're either friends, comrades in battle, traveling companions, or even living together. A manga from 1996 actually has the two sleeping together in the same bed.
    • You'd be surprised at how many times the pairing of Morrigan/Felicia pops up among the fandom. Morrigan's pet names for Felicia (apparently, Morrigan still calls Felicia "kitten" according to Cross Edge, and in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Morrigan tags out with Felicia with the call of "Kitty!") do not help in the slightest.
    • Donovan/Hsien-Ko was likely started due to their interactions in the anime.
    • Mixed with Crossover Ship, Morrigan is frequently paired with Dante of Devil May Cry fame (potentiated by Marvel vs. Capcom 3). Along with Dante/Bayonetta, this ship seems to be more popular than all of the actual pairings in-universe for both series.
  • Game-Breaker: In Vampire Savior, the Darkstalkers game still most played by the competitive fighting community, Q-Bee, Sasquatch, and Talbain are infamous for being three of the most powerful characters in the game whilst also being some of the easiest. B.B. Hood also gets some hate for her "unblockable" (it's not really, but let's not get too technical here), and Lord Raptor is also extremely good, but he's also very hard to play.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: For many a year, fans have been clamoring to get Jon Talbain into one of the Vs. titles (it works for Americans, who view werewolves and Bruce Lee to be awesome things). Point in case: Ryota Niitsuma, the producer of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, notes that he wanted to add more characters from this series to the game, but couldn't due to time constraints. Jon would have been his pick.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • I Am Not Shazam: The Bishamon in Vampire Savior/Savior 2/Hunter 2 and one of the Bishamon in 3 (as noted on the Characters page) is not the man who was enslaved by the will of his armor, but the armor itself having gained its own sentience.
  • Iconic Character, Forgotten Title: Morrigan and to a lesser extent Felicia, no thanks to the Vs. series. The mainstream knows they exist, but Darkstalkers remains a Cult Classic. Morrigan is also one of the most popular (if not the most popular) video game succubus characters on the Internet.
  • Iron Woobie:
    • Felicia. She suffers constant discrimination, abuse, and misunderstanding throughout the game franchise and the spin-off series, but still manages to keeps her cheerful attitude and hopes of a better future.
    • Jon Talbain used to be a normal nobleman until one night he turned into a werewolf. From then on, he was treated as an outcast, even as he learned to control his beastly impulses due to Training from Hell. Children get along with him, but Jon still lives in fear of brutalizing them with his beast fury. Despite this, he never gives in to dispair and continues to fight for those he cares for, even if they despise him.
    • Victor. His story may even edge out Donovan's as the most tragic in the series. At first, he believes his deceased creator to be ignoring him for not being strong enough. Shortly after the jarring realization that the old man had actually passed on, his sister suddenly ceases to function, leaving him alone once more (which is even more heart-crushing in the text epilogue of Night Warriors). Eventually, he realizes that the only way to revive Emily is to give his own life, which he does without hesitation. Worst of all, he is ignorant of the fact that her body, being a "prototype" of sorts, will probably not be able to continuously generate electric "life force" and is thus likely to run out of power before long.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Pretty much the general public's only link to the series is through Morrigan's popularity in her appearances in Capcom vs. games, which is why she's upfront and center in Resurruction's cover. It was a good effort, but didn't work too well...
  • Mainstream Obscurity: Has a cult following over the years, but is solely known for Morrigan Aensland, the sexier-than-sex succubus who has appeared in more crossover games than her own. Good luck finding someone who can name any other characters besides maybe Lilith, her moe sister, Jedah, an insane Grim Reaper-styled demon who mutilates himself to attack people, or Felicia, a near-nude Cat Girl. Possibly Hsien-Ko as well due to her appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. They probably won't know anything about the gameplay either. The series is Best Known for the Fanservice, and not much else.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Yoshinori Ono's DARKSTALKERS ARE NOT DEAD announcement seems to be working its way up. In the case of MvC3 (with the possibility of an all Darkstalkers team of Morrigan, Felicia, and Hsien-Ko being defeated) and Resurrection's unfortunate commercial failure, this is sometimes twisted into DARKSTALKERS ARE DEAD.
    • For the M.U.G.E.N community, making different forms for characters who are hit by Demitri's Midnight Bliss.
  • Moe: Felicia. B.B. Hood, too, if you can look past the more disturbing elements of her personality.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Morrigan's Darkness Illusion super was the first move to use the button press sequence (LP, LP, F, LK, HP) that is now associated with Akuma's Shun Goku Satsu.
    • Apparently the Shun Goku Satsu was even nicknamed "Goukiness Illusion" by some Japanese players at the time of its debut.
    • Despite what some may think, Dee, Donovan's evil form, was actually not something Capcom made just for the PS2 release. He was in fact an abandoned concept from the development of Vampire Savior. Producer Noritaka Funamizu specifically mentions this Demitri-headswap Donovan in the book All About Vampire Savior, and notes that he was "nearly finished."
  • Polished Port: The Sega Saturn port of Vampire Savior is not only arcade perfect, it even brings back the three missing characters from Night Warriors, complete with their own single-player endings. The PlayStation EX Edition port, while not as good by comparison, includes all 18 characters as well, plus both upgrades (Savior 2 and Hunter 2).
  • The Scrappy:
  • Scrappy Mechanic: In Resurrection, the YouTube upload function, since it only uploads in 360p resolution. Exclusive to the 360 version, however, is the high probability that your replay's audio will desync and a portion of the match will be cut off. And in some cases, the game won't let you upload replays at all. The option is permanently grayed out even after you link your Gamertag to your YouTube account.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
    • The Darkstalkers series often comes across as "just another 90s fighting game" to those who first experience it now, likely because so many of the new things it brought to the table such as chain combos, guard cancels, air blocking, ES specials, improved animation, and a cast full of something other than the same old martial arts archetypes have now been copied by so many other fighters (including its own predecessor, Street Fighter).
    • Apparently even some American game reviewers in the 90s didn't notice several of the mechanical differences from Street Fighter, so to some extent Darkstalkers was underappreciated in its time, too.
    • Guilty Gear, released in 1998, is oftentimes considered the Trope Codifier of the "Anime Fighter"; Fighting games that put increased emphasis on more aggressive offensive (longer combos and faster charging of the Super Meters) and increased mobility (double jumps, air dashes, air blocking). Darkstalkers introduced these elements 4 years earlier, but ultimately got overshadowed in the popular zeitgeist due to the lack of new games.
  • Self-Fanservice: A sizable chunk of fanart is prone to upping the bust sizes of Morrigan (who is rather modestly sized in the majority of her official art) and sometimes other female characters.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Since the roster includes a vampire, a werewolf, a pastiche of Frankenstein's monster, a mummy, and a merman, this series can easily be considered an unofficial Universal Horror video game adaptation.
  • Spiritual Successor: Since Capcom has yet to actually make another game for this series, fans have had to turn to other alternatives. Two noteworthy successors in particular are Killer Instinct (2013) and Skull Girls, both of which have heavily-stylized non-human characters among its roster.
  • Stoic Woobie: Anita. Played straight in both accounts: According to her backstory, her parents were killed by a Darkstalker and the people from the orphanage where she stayed shunned her as a witch. To make things worse, the only person that actually cared for her (in this case Donovan) sacrificed his last remains of humanity to protect her.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Cecil's reaction to Huitzil/Phobos being defeated.
    • Anita's reaction to Donovan's Downer Ending in Night Warriors.
    • Lei-Lei/Hsien-Ko and Lin-Lin/Mei-Ling's Night Warriors ending.
    • Dee's ending in the Japan-exclusive Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection: After killing Jedah, the game proceeds as though Dee (an evil version of Donovan) is about to fight a young woman who is not named, but is, in truth, an older Anita. The game fades to white before the fight begins, and as the credits roll, Anita is shown at a graveyard, suggesting that she ended the suffering of the man who once saved her soul.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The third game in the series, Vampire Savior, received criticism from existing fans of the series at the time of its release. Complaints were made about many aspects of the game, including the changes to the system mechanics and movesets, the removal of characters from the previous games, and the addition of new characters who many saw as out of place.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Part of the hatred towards Jon Talbain is because he's powerful and easy to use. Many players consider it cheesy to use him.
  • Too Cool to Live: Victor ends up Killed Off for Real after performing a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Ugly Cute: Sasquatch. He can be quite of a loveable dork despite his scary appearance. Just look at some of his poses and mannerisms.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Lilith gained a lot of fans who felt sorry for her, despite being The Dragon to Jedah.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Dimitri is not exactly the most sympathetic character, but he was originally meant to be one of the heroes.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Despite the bright animation and lack of excessive blood, this game is not for children. The game has a huge amount of Fanservice, deep emotional stories, and brutal violence. It's actually a miracle that the series didn't get an "M" rating at all. Though to be fair, "M" rated games weren't popular yet when the series started out.
  • The Woobie: Hsien-Ko and Mei-Ling. Poor girls.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Lilith. Just take a look at her backstory. Played straight in her ending (Morrigan's ending, despite Lilith losing, offers a more satisfactory conclusion as Morrigan welcomes Lilith back into her body, resulting in a win-win situation for both of them: Morrigan's power gets exponentially multiplied (possibly reaching full level and Lilith's sense of existence is assured).

The American cartoon

  • Badass Decay: Several of the Darkstalkers were already changed into weaker characters for the series, but every character would lose once an episode.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: This scene, as pointed out by Pan Pizza.
    • Jon Talbain's flashback in an episode: he reminisces fondly about a bakery... which suddenly explodes. End of flashback.
  • Bile Fascination: Some people only see the cartoon to see how bad it is.
  • Broken Base: Literally the only thing fans argue over is if the American cartoon is So Bad, It's Good or horrible. Of course, some people just say it's plain bad.
  • Critical Research Failure: The very idea that the Darkstalkers franchise was marketed towards kids has become one of the biggest criticisms against the show. Arguably, this applies to all the characters too since the show ended up being an In Name Only product with little to no connection to the source material it was based on.
  • Damsel Scrappy: Harry. He needs the heroic characters to rescue him all the time. He's not exactly redeemed by his lack of character and accidentally endangering the heroes every time.
  • Designated Hero: Harry. Although he's not outright villainous, he's allegedly The Chosen One who'll save the world from Pyron and bring peace between humans and Darkstalkers. However, he spends all of his screen time complaining and needing rescue from the heroes while accidentally getting them into trouble.
  • Ethnic Scrappy:
    • Morrigan is given a super thick Scottish accent that soon became well known as annoying.
    • The show's incarnation of Hsien-Ko sadly became this thanks to her exaggerated accent.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Several of the show's staff commented how they felt like this show was going to be the next best thing like Ghostbusters. The show proved very unpopular and didn't last 13 episodes.
    • The episode "Donovan's Bane" has Morrigan trick a a drifter into coming into her arms and attempts drain him of his life energy. Fortunately, Donovan attacking Morrigan causes the kiss to break and the drifter escapes with his life. The Udon comics, which depicts Morrigan as an even more malicious person, would have her trick nice men like a fisherman named Jack and an archaeologist and kiss them as well. Unfortunately for them, nobody came to their aid before Morrigan drained them dry. In some ways, the cartoon's depiction of Morrigan would end up being a recurring thing in adaptations.
  • He Really Can Act: The voice acting is considered questionable at best and ridiculously narm at worst... with one exception. While Scott McNeil's skill as a voice actor isn't in question (especially if you've heard his various other roles), his performance as Lord Raptor is considered a highlight and one of the show's legitimately good points, to the point that he was brought back to voice the character again in the English dub of Night Warriors: Darkstalker's Revenge and is considered the fan-preferred English voice for Lord Raptor in any media the character appears in.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • A bespectacled child wizard named Harry.
    • Pyron's ship A.I. is a dead ringer for 343 Guilty Spark, right down to the Smug Snake personality, and they even have extremely similar voices.
    • Within the franchise, the episode with the Crystal Skull has Demitri using it to banish his enemies to another dimension. Then Vampire Savior comes and gives us Jedah's Majigen ("Wicked Dimension"), where most of the cast are drawn to.
    • The "you are curiously attractive for a fishman" line is even funnier after The Shape of Water came out.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Lord Raptor's voice actor Scott McNeil being among one of the only highlights of the series becomes this since his performance earned him a Role Reprise in the much better anime OVA where Lord Raptor's popularity skyrocketed thanks to him playing the role more seriously.
  • Idiot Plot: The series finale involves Pyron's mean brother Terramon arriving to help his brother conquer the Earth since he's has failed at it himself. So instead of having Pyron tell his brother to get lost or challenge him over who gets the Earth, he instead invites all the Darkstalkers, both heroes and villains, to a fancy dinner party to prove to his brother that he's successfully conquered the planet by enslaving the other Darkstalkers opposing him in order to trick him into going away after his visit. Naturally, this doesn't work out.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Pyron. His whole plan to conquer Earth is motivated out of gaining respect from his mother.
    • Harry, who many of his haters classify as a Fake Ultimate Hero.
  • Memetic Molester: Morrigan. The most evident scene is when she abducts Harry and tucks him into bed after caressing him.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Misaimed Fandom: The series was made for kids... despite being made from an adult video game series. Unfortunately, neither adults nor children got into the cartoon and it failed.
  • Narm: This video summarizes it.
  • No Yay: Anakaris develops a disturbing interest in Felicia after he brainwashes her into becoming his wife.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Harry. He was not liked for being added as a Kid-Appeal Character in a franchise that was never made for kids to begin with.
    • Hairball, the Sasquatch/Big Foot's son is equally disliked for being an annoying Bratty Half-Pint that pisses off the other characters.
  • So Bad, It's Good: It's to be expected when your cartoon adaptation is made by the same company responsible for such works as G.I. Joe Extreme and the cartoon adaptation of Street Fighter.
  • Squick: Anakaris, a centuries-old, decaying mummy, brainwashes Felicia into becoming his wife and forces her to make out with him while his prisoners watch. It's as gross as it sounds.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Darkstalkers was never a series intended for children. But that didn't stop the Executive Meddling from removing all the Nightmare Fuel, the fanservice, the complex character stories, and altering the beautiful character designs to make the show family-friendly.
  • Uncanny Valley:
  • Video Game Movies Suck: Well, video game cartoons suck. This cartoon was unfortunately one of the many failed attempts to make a show based on a popular videogame. ScrewAttack has listed it as one of the worst cartoons ever based on a videogame simply for making it unrecognizable to the source material entirely.

Comic Books

  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: During Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, Felicia is attacked by a witch named Majorette and her own catperson named Thomas, who should not exist due to the fact that Felicia's species is a One-Gender Race. Neither of them are from the games and are seen ever again in the comic or its sequel crossover with Street Fighter. Jon and Felicia even lampshade they have no idea who she is.
  • Catharsis Factor: Several during the final fight:
    • First is Pyron completely destroying Morrigan and Demitri when he fights them, which comes out as satisfying given how both are evil and despicable monsters who've spent the entire story killing and using humans for their means. This is especially true for Morrigan, who unfortunately manages to escape aftermath.
    • Pyron ends on the receiving end of this trope when after spending the whole comics being a cocky and unstoppable planet-eater, Donovan arrives and with Anita's help manages to weaken the evil firelord just for Demitri to drain his energy and kill him.
    • And of course Demitri being freeze and sent to space by Donovan and Anita is rather cathartic given how he's just brainwashed and sacrificed several innocent women for his portal to the demon world to be open.
  • Complete Monster: In Darkstalkers & Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, by Ken Siu-Chong, Pyron is a sadistic space deity who enjoys devouring planets to gain power, having done so to his own home planet. Noticing the young planet Earth, Pyron waits for it to ripen and grow before promising to return and eat it. Spending the next millennia feasting on populated planets, Pyron heads back to the populated Earth, deciding to fight Morrigan and Demitri for his own amusement before he tries to devour the world completely.
  • Designated Hero: While the story does paint Morrigan in a sympathetic light and gives her some moments of sympathy like Belial's death, it falls flat towards fans due to her being depicted as a disgusting and evil monster who sees humans only as food and completely disregards their lives. Even when she is trying to prove herself worthy of the throne of Makai she still goes out her way to torment and kill humans, such as taking a train without paying and killing a bunch of passengers there because she didn't wanted to fly to Romania by herself.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: A man associated with the sea (a fisherman instead of a lighthouse keeper) let's a woman or royal descent and with supernatural abilities (a succubus instead of a denizen of Atlantis) stay at his home. If Morrigan were closer to her canon self, making her not interested in stealing Jack's soul, there's a chance this could have resulted in the two having a son, akin to the pre-Crisis origins of Aquaman before the New 52 and 2018 film reintroduced the concept.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Not that it justify their actions but the humans' racism toward Darkstalkers is understandable given many of them are evil monsters who regularly attack people. The main character and queen of them, Morrigan Aensland, is an evil succubus who frequently goes to the human world tricking and killing people to drain their souls and even causing destruction. Demitri Maximoff has several human women brainwashed and sacrificed for his plans, and in general there are a lot of human death at Darkstalkers' hands. Again it does not justify their treatment on good Darkstalkers (such as Felicia and other cat-women) but you can't blame the humans for it.
  • The Scrappy: Morrigan's villainous depiction in the comic is hated Darkstalkers fans due to how out of character it is compared to her game counterpart. While the game version gets her nourishment from enjoyment and is actually rather friendly for a succubus, this version is an unrepentant murderer and rapist who shows zero empathy to anyone outside her father and two servants, and even then she goes behind their backs to snack on innocent human souls.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Big-Lipped Alligator Moment not withstanding, Majorette and Thomas were Darkstalkers unique to the Udon comics. Much like how the Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) created its own animal characters for their take on a video game's world, this would have been a chance for Udon to create their own Darkstalkers, giving them their own backstories, abilities and connections to other Darkstalkers, and there was the possibility of the two developing a rivalry with Jon and Felicia. Unfortunately, they are exclusive to Jon and Felicia's story and are gone as soon as it ends.
    • This basically the opinion about the characters who didn't get more than a cameo or side-story, such as fan favourites like Lord Raptor or Hsien Ko.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Morrigan is technically the protagonist of the story as the comic mostly revolves around her. While the comic does show her relationship with her adopted father and her struggles to be the queen she is supposed to be, it's hard to root for her when she's depicted as much more evil and dangerous, especially when she drains human souls for the thrill of it. The fact she gets away with everything she does makes it worse.
  • Uncanny Valley: While the comics possesses a beautiful art style, there are times where the characters' faces look a bit creepy or off, and the female characters appear to have the same face drawn on their model.
  • The Woobie: Jack, the fisherman from the first issue. He encountered a young woman named Ann who was homeless due to claiming to have lost her husband, so he let her stay in his place for the night. However, when she offers to sleep with him and he turns her down out of kindness, she reveals herself to be Morrigan Aensland, who is not as nice or fun in this comic and decides to go for the direct approach with him, consuming his soul and killing him. By morning, Jack is found as a lifeless husk with blood under his corpse and a look of utter horror on his face. All of this because he thought he was helping someone who needed a bit of human kindness. The kindest thing Morrigan does for him is keeping his soul inside her body, living in eternal bliss and pleasure. Even then, it was more to feed on his soul than anything else.

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